She Wants Out!

Q: My husband bought a cell phone with another female a few years ago, claiming I didn't listen to him, among all the other things I wasn't doing. I work full-time and had kids, and our schedules were the opposite of each other. He told me not to worry about what was going on outside the marriage and that I need to handle my business at home. He told me I was washed up. The same year I found out that he was trying to hook up with another woman online, and that he'd emailed an ex telling her she was the one he should have married. I thought I could get past all of this but I can't, and to make matters worse, I heard a voicemail message a few months ago saying, "And yes I still do love you," and found out that same month, when he was on a business trip, that he'd invited a single female out for drinks.

I'm ready to divorce him, but our kids are young. My husband asked for forgiveness, but I can't because there have been way too many incidents. I eventually cheated on him a couple years ago, but now I don't want to be married to someone who obviously doesn't care for me or respect me. I'm nervous but I know filing for divorce is the right thing to do. -- Cindy, 42

Dr. Susan: : I hear your distress. I understand that you don't have a question but only want validation for your choice to get a divorce. From what you've shared, you may be doing the only logical thing. For years now, your husband has been fooling around and trying to blame you for everything. The partner who has affairs must take responsibility for his actions, and I'm only sorry you had an affair also rather than drag him to a counselor to work out what was going on. According to Fighting for Your Marriage, an excellent book, recently revised (by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, and Susan L. Blumberg), part of the process you would have to go through would be for you and your mate to have an open talk about how his actions have hurt you. Forgiveness, say the authors, is a lengthy process, and the hurt party can't do it alone. Because you have children, it might be useful to schedule a session or two for both of you with a therapist. That way at least you could plan, in a calm way, for the future care of the kids.

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